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3 OFWs confirm sex abuses

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Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario: Institutionalized sexual exploitation. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The testimonies of three women who claimed they were abused by a Filipino labor officer in Saudi Arabia bolstered allegations of “institutionalized” sexual exploitation of distressed migrant workers in Philippine embassies in the Middle East, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said Monday.

Speaking to reporters after two days of consultations with heads of Philippine diplomatic missions in the Middle East and North Africa, Del Rosario said he had widened the investigation of the allegations to include missions in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong that also have shelters for distressed migrant workers.

Del Rosario said he had ordered home the Philippine ambassadors to Singapore and Malaysia and consul general in Hong Kong for consultations.

The three women and a witness met with Del Rosario and other officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and officials of the Department of Labor and Employment last Friday and told them that they were sexually abused by a labor officer in the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, who handled their requests for repatriation.

“Certain allegations were confirmed by the three alleged victims who spoke with me on June 21. For the most part, however, until other victims and witnesses come forward, all other allegations, including sex rings, remain as allegations requiring further investigation,” Del Rosario said.

Help for victims

Malacañang on Sunday promised a thorough investigation of the sex-for-repatriation scandal and the prosecution of the labor officers who would be found liable for abusing the distressed Filipino women who had come to them for help.

On Monday, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the government would also give assistance to the victims.

The kind of assistance would depend on the outcome of the investigation, he said.

President Aquino has not spoken about the scandal since it broke out last Tuesday when Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello, chairman of the House committee on overseas workers’ affairs, disclosed the predatory behavior of labor officers in the Philippine embassies in Kuwait, Syria and Jordan.

Lacierda gave the assurance, however, that the Aquino administration does “not sanction” misconduct in the foreign service.

Del Rosario said the investigation by the DFA and by the labor department was going on “to ascertain the validity” of allegations that labor officers were pimping distressed female overseas workers and demanding sex from them in exchange for plane tickets to Manila.

He said the labor officer identified by the three complainants had been recalled from Riyadh.

The DFA has not yet released the identity of the labor officer.

“I think the allegations that I find very shocking are the fact that, well, our people continue to be taken advantage of,” Del Rosario said.

“But it seems there are allegations that this is becoming institutionalized in terms of the establishment of [sex] rings and so forth. These are allegations that have to be proven and we are looking [for] proof that they actually exist,” he said.

Tickets for sale

The DFA is also investigating reports that embassy officials are selling plane tickets to Manila to distressed migrant workers awaiting repatriation.

Earlier, the DFA said the government was shouldering the full cost of repatriating distressed migrant workers. Embassy officials cannot use the repatriation costs as leverage in asking for favors from the migrants, the department said.

“We don’t understand why there is exploitation happening in terms of getting the tickets, because the tickets are, in one way or another, guaranteed,” Del Rosario said.

He urged other victims to come forward and help the investigation.

“What we need to do now is encourage victims and witnesses to come forward. And we hope that we can convince them to do this not only to help themselves but to help others who, like themselves, have been taken advantage of,” he said.

No complaint filed

Formal complaints have yet to be filed, but Del Rosario said Bello may already have received written statements from the three Riyadh complainants.

He said the DFA had apprised Bello and the labor department’s investigative team of the DFA’s recommended actions against labor officers allegedly involved in the scandal.

He said the DFA was also looking to bring graft charges against labor officers tagged in the scandal, as suggested by lawyer Katrina Legarda, a women’s rights advocate who participated in the conclusion of the consultation last Friday.

Legarda, who gave a lecture on “sexploitation” during the meeting, said she had told Del Rosario that officials involved might be held liable for graft and corruption “as injury has been suffered by the government.”

“This way, there is no need for a formal complaint. In fact, I said that if victims are talked to, they will know who other victims may be and the persons they may have told about their experiences. In itself, that is corroborative evidence,” Legarda told the Inquirer.

Reform process

Del Rosario said the two-day consultations with the diplomats were the beginning of a reform process that would institute changes in the management of migrant workers’ shelters and improve the skills of mission heads in preventing and investigating sex-related cases.

He reiterated that “there should be no fraternization” between embassy officials and migrant workers in the shelters.

“We were able to collate all possible information that I think will enable us to give justice to the victims. We would be able to punish the guilty, and we also will be able to review all the policies and procedures governing our conduct pertaining to cases such as this,” Del Rosario said.—With a report from TJ Burgonio


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Tags: Department of Foreign Affairs , Hong Kong , Middle east , ofws , Overseas Filipino workers , Philippine Embassies , Philippines , Saudi Arabia , sex abuses , Sexual Exploitation , Southeast Asia

  • jseesus

    Beware of the Filipina Marriage Scam

    Filipina marriage scams occur when a woman lures an unsuspecting Western man into her dangerous web with promises of love and devotion. The man who is usually from the United States, United Kingdom, or Australia falls in love with the person the Filipino woman is pretending to be and marries her. Once the deceptive woman gets what she wants out of the marriage she discards her husband. Sometimes the Filipina will trash the husband’s reputation in the process, and if there are children involved the situation becomes even more frightening.

    How Do Filipina Women Meet Western Men
    A prominent way a woman living in the Philippines will meet a Western man is over the internet. She will post an attractive picture of herself online at various dating and social networking sites. She will quickly tell a man who has shown interest in her how much she loves him and how much she wants to be with him. Sometimes she will be professing love to more than one man at a time. She will appear virtuous and come off as the perfect woman and excellent wife material. Sometimes she will tell of hardships and ask for money before marriage, other times she will wait until she is in the U.S., Australia, or U.K. to begin taking money from her husband. Before continuing with this article it needs to be said that not all women in the Philippines are scammers. Unfortunately it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between an honest woman and a migration scammer until a marriage has taken on a darker component and eventually dissolves.

    The Cleaner Scam
    The cleaner scam occurs when a Filipina woman marries a man who has the intention of moving to the Philippines to live with her. Usually he will have to return to his home country for a period of time to make arrangements. His Filipina wife convinces him to add her name to all of his bank accounts. After he does this she empties the accounts and he never sees her again.

    Scams to Get Into the States
    Many Fililpina women will scam men so that they can move to the U.S., U.K., or Australia where life is better and money is more abundant. Often they will wait until the allotted time after which the husband can not say the marriage is a fraud, and then divorce the man. Sometimes a woman is already married and will ask for her brother or cousin to come live with her and her husband. When this is the case, the “brother” or “cousin” is really her first husband.

    The Dump Truck Scam
    -Tampo Phase
    The dump truck scam is form of marriage fraud that can last for a number of years. A man from the U.S., U.K. or Australia will marry a Filipina woman who has made him fall in love with her with pretty words and verbal caresses. The husband will bring his new wife back to his home country, only to discover she is not the person he thought she was. She will begin to act distant, unhappy, and snappish.

    - Distracted Phase
    In this phase of the scam the filipina wife will stop listening to and being attentive to her husband. She will act distracted when speaking to him, or “doodle” on paper during important conversations. She will ask for money for things she doesn’t need, stop taking care of the house, or doing anything to contribute to the marriage.

    - Falsely Reporting Abuse
    A filipina woman may call the police and say she is being abused by her husband during this phase when she really is not. According to the Mail Order Bride blog, “…female perpetrators of immigration fraud are highly familiar with U.S. Domestic violence laws and understand a false claim of abuse not only insures free legal assistance but also invokes new federal laws prohibiting their removal from the United States” . Not only does this harm the reputation and legal status of the accused husband, it takes valuable time and resources away from women who really are being abused.

    -Using Children
    Sometimes a filipina woman will have children with her husband while still in the midst of a migration scam. She may do this with her husband’s knowledge or she may trick him into impregnating her. Once children are born it makes it much easier for a marriage scammer to get what she wants. When children are in the home a husband is asked to leave if she cries abuse. She will often file for a restraining order, file for welfare benefits, ask for a divorce for which she will receive free legal aid, and get most if not all of the marital assets. In some cases the father will be cut completely out of the child’s life and the marriage scammer will use legal means to achieve this, even though her husband is a natural born citizen.

    Everyone Suffers from Marriage Scams
    Marriage scams happen more often than people realize and when a marriage scam is successful a number of people suffer.

    One marriage scammer was married to her American husband for years and had three children with him. She cried abuse and ended up getting sole custody of her children and all of the marital assets. The victim of the filipina migration scam was ordered to pay more in child support than he made and was not even allowed to keep enough money to pay for his life sustaining medication. This filipina’s ex-husband is now living in the Philippines with his new wife. The ex-husband is a pastor whose passport was taken from him by the United States Embassy because of the actions of his ex-wife and he cannot return to the United States because of telephone threats on his life made by the police of his hometown. This victim of a migration scam cannot come back to the U.S. to see or protect his kids right now, though he is fighting to change that.

    Another marriage scammer actually married her husband in the United States, though she was only there on a Visa. After the marriage her personality changed completely. After the marriage fall apart the husband found out he was not even legally married to the Filipina woman because she already had a husband in the Philippines. He then found out his “wife” had stolen money from a local V.A. Hospital and was filtering it through an account in his name. The woman was never seen again even though the U.S. government has searched for her for over a decade.

    Some women will divorce their husbands as soon as they can legally stay in the United States. Others will exhort large amounts of money before doing so. Some Filipina migration scammers will get their husbands to buy them a house, car, pay for their education, and have babies with them before they toss them aside. In the end the husband is left hurting, kept away from his children, and has to rebuild a life from scratch. More has to be done to stop illegal migration and marriage scams and rules need to be modified and changed. Individual concerned about this issue should write to their local senators and congress representatives and ask for action. If enough voices are raised, someone has to listen.

  • Stuubs

    sec del Rosario should resign for sleeping on the job, as the department head he failed to police his own rank.

  • disqusted0fu

    Malacanang is promising an investigation only because this issue is in the spotlight now. As soon as this issue gets covered up by something else, Malacanang’s promise will also be gone with it.

  • Stuubs

    The Abnoy govt only cares about the golden eggs ($$ remittance) but just forgotten the goose that lays them– in this case our OFW’s the so called modern heroes. the same people who are responsible for our economy.

  • disqusted0fu

    Back in the days only money can sway these officials. Now, apparently sex will do the trick also. The officials have leveled up in this straight path… It’s not just money straight to their pockets but pleasure straight through their pants.

  • Jake Lopez

    Since case has been confirmed by three victims themselves and a witness, then the word “allegation” should be replaced by something more appropriate. They should be sent home and charged ASAP. Sex maniacs have no place in the Philippine diplomatic corps. Mga bantay-salakay..sarili ng kadugo kinakatalo pa. It’s one thing to be raped by foreign employers but it is worse if people who are supposed to help you in times of need who’ll take advantage of you.

  • PepingCo

    These culprits should be investigated by the BIR and DOJ as far as their lifestyles and wealth. After taking the dignity of our helpless OFWs, they too should be stripped of their own dignity and made to pay for their misdeeds.

  • mangtom

    jseesus, the mongolid azz monkey strikes again. Brother or sister of the boglimaniak-sangkatutak anak kasi matakaw ng fetus soup-ginanamit niya yong mga fetus ng anak niya panggawa ng specialty niyang soup-ngek!!!!! Baho hininga-grabe ang halitosis mo, choy.

  • Akoaykanoy

    President Pinoy recall this ambassadors right away and charge them for rape so they must go right away to jail since rape case is no-bailable and by the way who are these people please name them so the filipinos will know who they are. Please no cover up.



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